Wrestlers suspend protest till June 15 after meeting with Sports Minister Anurag Thakur
"We had a discussion on some issues. Police investigation should be completed by 15th June and the minister has requested us not to hold protests until then," said Bajrang Punia following the wrestlers meeting with Sports Minister Anurag Thakur.
Following their meeting with Sports Minister Anurag Thakur, wrestlers protesting against WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh on Wednesday suspended their stir until June 15, but reiterated that the movement is not over yet.
The crucial meeting between the top wrestlers and Thakur was led by Olympic medallist Bajrang Punia and took place at the minister's residence for six hours in an attempt to strike a deal with the protesting grapplers.
The meeting was called upon by the Sports Minister to break the deadlock as the wrestlers have been adamant that they will continue their agitation till the WFI chief, who they have accused of sexual harassment, is arrested.
Speaking to the media after the meeting, Olympic medallist Bajrang Punia said, "We had a discussion on some issues. Police investigation should be completed by 15th June and the minister has requested us not to hold protests until then. He also said the security of female wrestlers will be taken care of. We have requested that all FIRs against wrestlers should be taken back and he has agreed to it."
"Government has assured us that police investigation will be completed before 15th June. We have requested that all FIRs against wrestlers should be taken back and he has agreed to it. If no action is taken by 15th June, we will continue our protest," Punia added.
Assuring the wrestlers that investigation into the case will be completed by June 15, Thakur told the media, "I had a long 6-hour discussion with the wrestlers. We have assured wrestlers that the probe will be completed by 15th June and chargesheets will be submitted. The election of WFI will be done by 30th June."
Vinesh Phogat, a prominent face of the protest, did not attend the meeting as she is in her village Balali in Haryana to attend a pre-scheduled 'panchayat'. Along with Punia, Rio Olympic bronze medallist Sakshi Malik and her wrestler husband Satyawart Kadiyan were present at the meeting with Thakur. BKU leader Rakesh Tikait, who has been supporting the grapplers in their protest, was not part of the crucial meeting.
On April 23 at Jantar Mantar, the wrestlers had resumed up their protest against Brij Bhushan and the national federation. On May 28, after they started their march to the new Parliament building without permission, the police detained them for violating law and order and took them away from the protest location.
It is the second time in five days that the government and protesting wrestlers have met. On Saturday night, the wrestlers met with Home Minister Amit Shah and informed him of their requests.
Even while the majority of their requests are acceptable to the administration, the detention of Singh, a BJP MP, continues to be a point of controversy.
Last Monday, the wrestlers returned to work for the Northern Railways. Punia and Sakshi Malik work for Railways as OSDs.